Group Applying for $200K Grant to Revive Ioka

The Exeter Theater Company is trying to raise $600,000 to buy the historic theater.

A local nonprofit group is applying for a huge grant that could help it revive the dormant Ioka theater.

The Exeter Theater Company is trying to buy the Ioka from local philanthropist Alan Lewis for $600,000 and revive it as a community theater for movies, plays, concerts, and other performances.

Lewis bought the Ioka at an auction in 2011 and had planned to lease it to theater company, but he recently changed his mind and now wants to sell it to the group. The Ioka was built in 1915 and for decades screened films, among other performances. It has been dormant for the last several years.

As of mid-December, the theater company had raised about $140,000 from local donors, among other sources. It's seeking to raise the rest of the money through more donations and grants.

The theater company is applying for a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts worth anywhere from $25,000 to $200,000. Winners are announced in July.

Exeter officials this week signed a letter of support that will be included in the grant application. They said a revived Ioka could become the "jewel" of Exeter.

The letter can be found at right in the "Photos" section.

Jay January 09, 2013 at 02:42 PM
Simple question. How much of the donors' funds already raised have been expended and for what? Number two: Is the return of donor funds to the donors possible now that the original promise by Lewis and the restoration committee has been broken? The committee owes the public those answers before anything goes forward. We need some more "Patchwork" to get these answers if the committe can't get this all out in the light of day.
Jason Claffey January 09, 2013 at 02:50 PM
Hey Jay, Thanks for the comment. We've reached out to the group and will post their response when we get it. –The Editor
Carol January 10, 2013 at 05:36 PM
1. All funds raised in the membership drive are in a separate account at a local bank and have not been expended on anything. The majority of the work done so far has been all volunteer labor & donated services in this community-led effort. Printing, postage & limited administrative costs have been covered by unrestricted funds donated by the board & community friends. An annual report will be available sometime next month for 2012 after the board & volunteer bookkeeper have put it together. 2. We are asking, and many people have already done so, to let us know if they want to “convert” their member gift into an unrestricted gift towards the purchase. If not, it will remain in the bank. If they wish for their funds to be returned, they can contact us at info@exetertheater.org to do that also. We have only had two requests to returns funds so far, & after they spoke directly with an ETC board member, they retracted their request. (And in one case, made an additional gift.) There is a helpful FAQ section on the ETC website http://www.exetertheater.org/faqs.htm The Exeter Theater Company stands committed to honoring the community members’ intentions to support the restoration of the Ioka Theater, despite the need to change our plan in dealing with theater owner. We’ve been heartened by the increased support & new donations. Questions? Project Manager Adam Roberts adam@exetertheater.org & ETC Board Chair Tony Callendrello tony@exetertheater.org are happy to answer.
Jason Claffey January 10, 2013 at 08:18 PM
Hey Carol, Thanks for posting. Jay, this is the response from the Exeter Theater Company to your questions. –The Editor
Jay January 12, 2013 at 02:19 AM
Thank you both very much.


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